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CSR norms cover 16,500 companies

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Mumbai: As many as 16,500 companies in India fall under the purview of mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) norms, posing a challenge not only for those engaging in such causes for the first time but also others in terms of effective implementation and reporting, experts maintain. Lesson7_CSR_logo2

“Companies have good intention to spend on CSR but are not able to manage the entire CSR lifecycle,” said Parul Soni, global managing partner with Thinkthrough Consulting Global, which specialises in social development initiatives.

“They are unable to find good implementing partners — those who are able to understand the vision of the company,” Soni told a seminar co-hosted by the National HRD Network (NHRDN) and Thinkthrough Consulting.

“There is an immediate need to develop the capacity of the implementing partners across different domains so that they can sustainably implement the CSR vision of the company.”

Stakeholders told the seminar that despite India emerging as one of the fast-growing economies, millions of Indians still live in abject poverty, putting the corporate sector under severe scrutiny due to such uneven development.

With Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 laying down the rules for CSR, the seminar focused on “From Act to Action” towards better implementation of the mandate given to the corporate sector, as also to prepare a blueprint for the road ahead.

“CSR needs to focus on issues related to women empowerment, child nutrition. We say our children are the future of this country! Let’s collectively make an effort to keep our future well nourished at an early age, as most of their growth happens during the first few years,” Lalitha Kumarmangalam, chairperson of National Commission for Women, said.

“Also let’s rise & contribute towards the women empowerment by ensuring financial independence, instilling soft skills and by making them technology savvy,” she added.

Most NGOs or foundations for social welfare, are run by people with good intentions but the lack of execution and insufficient co-ordination with the corporates is not getting them the respect they deserve, K Ramkumar, national president NHRDN and executive director ICICI Bank said.

“It is this mismatch which is making the funds fall through the cracks.”

(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)

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